Barcelona closing in on £17m-rated Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano - report

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Argentina international Javier Mascherano could be on his way out of Liverpool after all. The holding midfielder was continually being linked with a move to Italian champions Inter in the past couple of weeks, but Inter president Massimo Moratti admitted on Monday that the Nerazzurri lack the financial resources to make the deal happen.

According to a report in El Mundo Deportivo, Inter's decision not to sign Mascherano has alerted Spanish powerhouse Barcelona and the Catalans have re-ignited their interest in the holding midfielder.

Barcelona were initially after Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas, but they failed to reach an agreement with the Gunners. Therefore, they've turned their attention elsewhere and they're now set to make a move for Mascherano. Liverpool have reportedly set a £16.7 million (€20m) asking price for the 26-year-old midfielder.

New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is believed to be a keen admirer of Barcelona's Aliaksandr Hleb though and the Catalans are ready to include the attacking midfielder in the deal. They could offer £8.3m (€10m) plus the services of the Belorussian for Mascherano.

Mascherano was close to signing for Barcelona last year, but the transfer eventually collapsed. He'd more than happy to move to Spain this year though.

"Javier likes the idea of joining Barcelona a lot. He didn't renew his contract with Liverpool and the club have promised us that they're willing to cooperate if a good offer comes in. The situation is quite different than last year's situation," said Mascherano's Spanish representative, Horacio Zandonadi, to COM Radio.  

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